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Jakarta Post

ASEAN connectivity could be blueprint for world

  • Lukas Maximilian Mueller

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Jakarta   /   Thu, June 20, 2019   /  12:26 pm
ASEAN connectivity could be blueprint for world The leaders of ASEAN member states, (from left) Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN summit in Singapore. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

China’s second Belt and Road Forum in late April brought with it a few innovations. Apparently keen to regain some goodwill, China announced modifications to the multibillion-dollar infrastructure initiative. This includes a closer collaboration with multilateral financial institutions, giving potential projects a more stringent approval procedure. In addition, China has agreed to set up a mediation panel in cooperation with Singapore, presumably to move away from China-centric dispute settlement mechanisms. This is clearly a reaction to recent backlashes against the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), many of which occurred in Southeast Asian countries. Both Thailand and Indonesia have noticeably limited Chinese involvement in their national railway infrastructure over the past five years. In the past year, Malaysia has successfully countered the perceived Chinese “debt-tr...



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